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A web API is a program hosted on on a web server designed to be used by other programs.

For example, using Yelp's API you could write a lunch decider app that interacts with their search API and selects a single location based upon whatever criteria you like.

While a web API is often used interchangeably with the term "web service", use of the term "web API" usually implies that the interface follows RESTful conventions. A "web service" is a more generic term for any web-hosted software that is designed to communicate with other software (machine-to-machine communication).